Do We Need a King & a Queen – A He-Leader & A She-Leader?

Do we need a he-leader AND a she-leader?

In today’s complex world a singular go-it-alone leader won’t suffice. He or she cannot possibly understand or focus on each and all the critical issues. Setting priorities doesn’t help when everything in the web of inter-related factors is equally important.

The President Can’t Do It

Consider the Obama administration. Before assuming office the country entered an intense economic crisis. The president’s and the country’s agenda included health care, education, finance and immigration reform; terrorism; conflicts in the middle east; climate change legislation; and ending nuclear proliferation. Enter the economic crisis in Greece and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This agenda does not begin to account for building the organizations and developing the relationships required to deal with these issues and run day to day operations under a new administration.

Corporate Executives Can’t Do It

Corporate executives also hold extreme jobs in a 24/7 global world where communications never shut down. Why do we run these complex structures with a single leader who can’t possibly attend to all the agendas and dynamics? Is it the age old unreasonable reason – “that’s the way we’ve always done it?”

Families Don’t Do It and Neither Does Intel

Consider that the family unit, a much simpler structure, is run by a duo. The semi-conductor giant Intel uses a “two-in-the-box” structure in cases where one person does not have all the required knowledge or competence to lead the organization.

Command and Control Won’t Do It

Add one more problem. The command and control style is without doubt the wrong paradigm for this era. Enter the feminine – collaboration, emotional savvy, intuitive thinking, community building, relational focus. While women don’t have a monopoly on these competencies, according to my research they bring them to the forefront and as a result men begin to incorporate these qualities as well.

The Kind and the Queen Can Do It

So, why not have a King and a Queen, a she-leader and a he-leader who integrate the feminine and the masculine to lead the organization? As an added side benefit we might also bring the gender agenda to an end. We could stop having THAT conversation after a few years of comparing how he does it to how she does it.

What do you think? Should we go for two?

Addendum – Facebook did it. Read about the He-Leader She-Leader duo who are saving the company.

For more uncommon practices to crack the glass ceiling and shift a failing leadership paradigm click here.

P.S. On this same date, as if in an act of serene-dip-ity, Nick Kristof, New York Times Pulitzer Prize winner, posted an Op Ed suggesting a King and Queen of America. I believe Mr. Kristof was holding tongue in cheek. My tongue is not in my cheek, nor am I holding it – much to the surprise of those who know me.

16 Responses to “Do We Need a King & a Queen – A He-Leader & A She-Leader?”

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Anne Perschel, Susan Steinbrecher. Susan Steinbrecher said: I like! RT @bizshrink: @SusanMazza He-leader & she-leader, another absurd idea for shifting the leadership paradigm http://bit.ly/heshelead [...]

CV Harquail says:

I’m midway through a book on Enlightened Leadership, which proposes that women are more or less ‘fixing’ leadership. If only that were true. I look at “leaders” like Fiorina and Whitman and shudder to think that they might be seen as “enlightened” .

I’d prefer a Lady, like Lady Gaga, who could mess the templates up enough that we stop categorizing. Howeve, in the meantime, I’ll fight for women (and men) to create their own authentic leadership styles and followership expectations. And, I’ll continue to remind myself that leadership is not a solo act– it is a team sport.
cv

Anne says:

CV – Thanks for your profound & enlightened comment. Shuddering along with you. After Ms. Fiorina made a mess at HP she will possibly go on to mess up the entire state of CA. This is not the kind of equal opportunity I was hoping for.

[...] For another absurd idea on how to crack the glass ceiling and shift the failing command and control … [...]

Anne – great idea! The scope is extensive. Not sure how the pratical implications can be worked out, but definitely worth considering. It can’t produce worse results than some we have seen from some solo efforts. Has to be an equal parternship though, with no “queens” ending up in the Tower.

Gwyn Teatro says:

A really interesting and thought-provoking post, Anne.

I love the notion of combining the best of feminine and masculine leadership traits in leadership roles. The challenge of course (at least one of them) is to find the combinations that work well together.

I see it as a marriage of a kind and, as we know, some marriages work more effectively than others. If all that is present in a good marriage is present in a shared leadership situation then the combination would bring strength and a new dimension to the whole notion of what leadership could be.

It is not without its dangers though. I expect that like any marriage, a rift between female and male leader/partners could reverberate negatively throughout an organization, not dissimilar to the effects of a divorce on a family.

Nonetheless it is an intriguing idea and one that deserves serious consideration
Gwyn Teatro´s last post ..Successful leadership ~ The Story of a ManMy Profile

Mary Wilson says:

Anne, I love how you get us thinking in different ways about important issues and ideas. I have believed for some time that a senior leadership position may be too much for one person. We expect god-like qualities and are then surprised when the leader turns out to be very human.

The best leaders I have seen find ways to tap into both masculine and feminine strengths by using all the resources of the leadership team. They know their strengths and weaknesses and encourage other team members to take the lead in areas where the senior leader is not strong.

It’s interesting that you mentioned the U.S. president, because I was thinking that the Clinton administration was pretty close to a male/female leadership team, and showed us both its strengths and its dangers.

This is the post I had been waiting for, Anne, Bravo!
It’s about re inventing Leadership, not less.
You’re showing us a third way.
It’s not the patriarchial way.
It’s not the mother nature, matriarchial way.
It’s about men and women in search of their soul.
Is the soul a He or a She?
Yang or Yin?
Each one of us grows his and her own sense of self, honoring and nurturing each other.
For me, it’s all happening inside each one of us…a soft and powerful revolution.
Welcoming the invisible hand of Empathy and allowing collaboration instead of competition.
We are all feminine AND masculine, Geronimo and Geronima…
The most difficult task is first to learn to be at peace with ourselves!
Marion Chapsal´s last post ..Empathy Is The Invisible HandMy Profile

Sofia says:

This is the post I had been waiting for, Anne, Bravo!
It’s about re inventing Leadership, not less.
You’re showing us a third way.
It’s not the patriarchial way.
It’s not the mother nature, matriarchial way.
It’s about men and women in search of their soul.
Is the soul a He or a She?
Yang or Yin?
Each one of us grows his and her own sense of self, honoring and nurturing each other.
For me, it’s all happening inside each one of us…a soft and powerful revolution.
Welcoming the invisible hand of Empathy and allowing collaboration instead of competition.
We are all feminine AND masculine, Geronimo and Geronima…
The most difficult task is first to learn to be at peace with ourselves!

Anne says:

Thank you Sofia. Your response is lovely!

[...] pairing men with women in leadership capacities so we can learn to honor the richness we both, as humans, offer each other, our [...]

Lee Mann says:

I get the need for a pragmatic mixing of traits. But rather than a king and queen, how about a new view of guiding principles? Perhaps a Management Hippocratic Oath would be in order:

First, do nothing stupid. Second, I know I can be wrong, so I will listen. (If the boss can’t be wrong, no one can. And, that’s an organization in serious trouble.) Third, I can’t solve a problem, or seize an opportunity, that I won’t recognize, so I will be alert and unassuming in my perspective. If at any time I think principles two and three don’t apply to me, I’ll reapply to myself the first principle. Fourthly, I will communicate, communicate, communicate! Finally, when I’m done, I’ll stop.

Anne says:

Lee. You have created simple truths that are wonderful principles for all of us to uphold. I particularly like the first and last. Do nothing stupid. When I’m done, stop.
Cheers.

[...] is all about – the integration of feminine and masculine attributes and what I described in Do We Need a King and a Queen – A He Leader and a She Leader. Zuckerberg and his board have the good sense to supplement HIS leadership with what SHE brings to [...]

[...] pairing men with women in leadership capacities so we can learn to honor the richness we both, as humans, offer each other, our companies, and the [...]

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